Research Training Day

Washington Monument Photo

Research Training Day | Session 1

Wednesday, May 31

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM ET

Guide to NIH/NIMH Funding for Eating Disorders Research

Mark Chavez, NIH/NIMH

Abstract: The workshop will be an introduction and broad overview about funding opportunities from the National Institute of Health (NIH), specifically the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for early-career investigators. We will address funding mechanisms and timelines associated with each, NIH and NIMH policies, review criteria (e.g., preliminary data, publication record), and the importance of contacting the program staff as you start to develop your application.  

Learning Objectives:
  1. Describe funding opportunities for early-career investigators including NIH and NIMH policies.
  2. Discuss the review criteria for early-career funding opportunities.
  3. Use introductory information about NIH and NIMH to plan application.

Research Training Day | Session 2

Wednesday, May 31

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM ET (a short break to get lunch will be included)

Taking Charge of your Career: A Professional Development Workshop for Early-Career Academics and Clinical Scholars

Ruth Weissman, Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, Emerita, Wesleyan University
Dr. Debra Franko
Dr. Phillipa Hay

Abstract: Turbo-charge your career with an interactive workshop for early-career academic and clinical scholars, led by three internationally renowned researchers with high-level administrative experiences. The workshop will focus on skill-building in the three pillars of academic success: scholarship, teaching, and colleagueship. The specific demands on early-career individuals vary across countries or institutions. Yet, certain expectations and corresponding skills apply broadly. We will address common expectations and demands and, through small group discussions and coaching, strategies focused on participants’ unique career paths. In early-career, job opportunities rather than career interest may dictate how we spend our time; it is a time to explore how to thrive within a given context and set the stage for transitioning from where you are to where you wish to be.

Goals: We will help participants: consider key early-career challenges and how to meet those challenges; articulate where participants want to be within the next five years and how to prepare for achieving those goals; prepare for set-backs and how to redirect participants’ career efforts as needed. Scholarship: we will address academic writing; developing research collaborations; fulfilling public impact expectations; and securing funding. Teaching: we will discuss crafting a strategic teaching portfolio that creates synergies with scholarly or clinical interests; syllabus development; and achieving positive teaching evaluations. For clinical scholars, we will consider strategic approaches to practice quality assurance; developing a clinical dataset for research; and supervision of clinical and research students. Colleagueship: we will invite attendees’ exploration of productive mentor-mentee relationships; working with your Chair or Dean; fulfilling institutional service demands; and making contributions to and gaining recognition in the field.

Target Audience: Advanced graduate students, post-docs and people in academic appointments pre-promotion to associate professor (or the equivalent thereof), ~ first 5 years in an academic appointment.

Research Training Day | Session 3

Wednesday, May 31

2:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET

Beyond the RCT: Best practices for working with observational data in eating disorders research

Dr. Rachel Presskreischer, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychiatric Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Ariel Beccia, Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Hunter McGuire, PhD Student, Public Health Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis

Abstract: Ethical and feasibility concerns preclude the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to answer many important eating disorder research questions. Observational data (e.g., nationally representative surveys, electronic medical records, longitudinal cohort studies) are often well-suited to answering such questions and can estimate causal effects similar to RCTs; however, some aspects of observational data (e.g., lack of randomization, complex sampling, missing data) introduce methodological challenges warranting special consideration in study design and analysis. Given the increasing interest in using observational data, the goal of this training is to provide a comprehensive overview of the why and how of using such data to advance understanding of eating disorders and their etiology. The first two hours will include a series of interactive lectures covering: 1) observational data types; 2) benefits, challenges, and best practices for using these data; 3) development of research questions given the data structure; 4) use of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) to visualize causal relationships and guide covariate selection; and 5) an introduction to analytic techniques (e.g., generalized linear models, quasi-experimental methods). The next 90 minutes will consist of training activities for participants to engage with common issues encountered when working with observational data. Participants will split into small groups and develop a research question within a predefined topic area. Group will identify the key variables and study design they would need, in a perfect word, to best answer their research question. Next, they will practice creating a DAG to identify and visualize causal relationships among the key variables. Groups will then be given a description (e.g variable list, sample size, study design) of a real-world dataset and be tasked with adjusting, as needed, their original research question and DAG. At this stage, groups will discuss limitations (e.g., omitted variables, sampling) of analyzing the given dataset in relation to their research question. Finally, each group will outline a simplified sketch of their proposed analysis plan, including covariates selection to adjust for confounding of their causal effect of interest The final 30 minutes of the session will include time for Q&A and reporting from each group about their experiences and takeaways from the activity.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand the benefits and challenges associated with using observational data.
  2. Be able to specify a research question that can be answered using observational data.
  3. Gain awareness of relevant analytic methods and how to interpret findings.

Presentation Level: Intermediate